9 great shows and concerts to watch this weekend


Brooklyn soul/disco/funk trio Say She She will kick off their Picnic concert series on May 27 in Novato.

From a cool concert series to “Cabaret” and two free music series, there are some cool things to see and do in the Bay Area this weekend and beyond.

This is a partial summary.

Picnic Concert Returns to Novato

Oakland Grammy winner Fantastic Negrito, jazz superstar Bill Frisell, alt-rock star Cracker, acclaimed mandolinist Sierra Hull and popular guitarist Chris Shiflett (of Foo Fighters fame) will all perform on Monday Performing at the 11th Annual Picnic Concert Series at 11 p.m.

Other acts introduced by local promoter KC Turner include Bill Kirchen (June 28), Box Set (June 7), James McMurtry (June 14), Megan Slankard (July 13), Wood Brothers (July 27)) and Toad Wet Sprocket (July 19-20).

The outdoor series kicks off Monday with Brooklyn soul/disco band Say She She, featuring Piya Malik (formerly of El Michels Affair and Chicano Batman), Sabrina Mileo Cunningham and Nya Gazelle Brown. The group is touring in support of its latest feature film, “Silver,” which was released last year to some critical acclaim.

Say She She will also perform at the massive BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on May 24th.

detail: The concert runs until October 11th.

— Jim Harrington, Staff

Classic Selection: SFS Chamber Concert; Requiem

Chamber music at Davis Hall; a rare performance of Maurice Durufle’s masterpiece in Oakland; and an anniversary celebration at Berkeley’s venerable Crowden School are highlights of this week’s classical music calendar.

Little fun: Chamber music concerts with the San Francisco Symphony are always a delight. This Sunday, eight musicians gather at Davis Hall to perform works by Tchaikovsky, Penderecki, Devin Tse and Edgar Meyer.

detail: May 26, 2 p.m.; Davis Symphony Hall, San Francisco; $40; sfsymphony.org.

French gems: Mountain View-based The Ensemble Continuo presented a rare performance of Dhruv’s “Requiem” Friday night at one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful cathedrals, led by organist David Jonis Jonies ) performs. The program also includes Durufle’s “Quatre motets” and Lili Boulanger’s “Psaume 24.”

detail: May 24, 8 p.m.; Christ the Light Cathedral, Oakland; $25-$100; ensemble-continuo.com.

Crowdon Celebrations: It’s an important month for Berkeley’s Crowden School, marking four decades of educating young composers and conductors. On Saturday, Croden’s 40th anniversary concert will feature the world premiere of Arches by composer Samuel Adams, as well as special musical works including the Friction Quartet.

detail: May 25, 6:30 p.m.; Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley; general $50-$100, seniors $35, youth $10; crowd.org.

—Georgia Rowe, correspondent

Representatives from the center participated in the “cabaret performance”

Kit Kat Club is opening soon at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek.

We’re talking, of course, about the restless hedonistic den at the center of “Cabaret,” the acclaimed Kander and Ebb musical that captures life and love in Germany during the waning years of the Weimar Republic, the Jazz Age, and the rise of the Nazi Party. At this turning point in history, American writer Clifford Bradshaw fell in love with British cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

The 1966 musical has become a musical theater classic, although its success was initially somewhat lackluster due to concerns about its moral content. Since then, the series has been produced and remade several times, starring Judi Dench, Joel Grey, Alan Cumming, Emma Stone, Michelle Williams and Neil Patrick Harris . Of course, it was also adapted into a 1972 film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York.

Now Center Repertory is producing the iconic musical, directed by Center Repertory’s artistic producer Marcus Porter.

detail: May 26-June 23; Lesher Arts Center, Walnut Creek; $48-$73; lesherartscenter.org.

—Randy McMullen, Staff

Adaptation of “Alice” staged at GGG

San Francisco’s We Players’ “Alice’s Adventures” blends wit and whimsy and is a joy to watch, especially for those familiar with 19th-century British author Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Through the Looking Glass. We Players founder and artistic director Ava Roy, who specializes in site-specific adaptations, draws on the two books to create this hilarious adventure set in Golden Gate Park.

The outdoor show begins with Alice walking down the hillside from behind a eucalyptus tree and urging everyone to follow the exhausted White Rabbit. Viewers will be guided through the park (from near Spreckels Lake to a portal into the past), following the confused and often angry little Alice (charmingly portrayed by Regina Leon in bloomers and apron) and the perpetually late ’s White Rabbit (Britt Lauer). As the audience moves from scene to scene, they encounter, and sometimes interact with, most of the familiar characters culled from the books: White King, White Queen, Red Queen, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, Humpty Dumpty , Mad Hatter , and more.

“Alice” was first performed last year, now with slight changes to include more audience interaction, and is performed for children and adults by this troupe of talented acrobats and creative actors.

detail: Through June 2; Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; Show begins near N Polo Field and ends near Portals of the Past; $20-$80; weplayers.org.

—Jean Schiffman, Bay City Press Foundation

Pher’s Free Back to School Show

Born Chris Turner in Oakland, singer, songwriter, and producer Pher grew up surrounded by the rich jazz, soul, and R&B music scene of the San Francisco Bay Area. Now based in New York, he’s built an enviable career as an educator at his alma mater, The New School, and as a singer, building a successful career as a solo headliner and sought-after collaborator career. Pher, whose sound blends straight-forward and contemporary jazz with soul and R&B (including the slow-burning bedroom-soul hit “Cool Down”), won acclaim for his work on New York jazz band Snarky Puppy’s 2016 album. Love” and continues to work with numerous A-list artists including Usher, Stevie Wonder, Robert Glasper, Eddie Palmeri, Esperanza Spalding, Jon Batty ster et al. Phil credits his Bay Area upbringing with helping him develop a wide range of vocal talents, and this week he returns to his roots for a free performance at the Yerba Buena Gardens Music Festival on Thursday .

detail: May 23, 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Yerba Buena Gardens Great Lawn, Mission Street between Third and Fourth Streets; Free; ybgfestival.org.

— Bay City Press Foundation

Free music and dancing in Golden Gate Park

If you happen to be in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, May 25 (we can think of worse places than the early summer long weekend), you can check out the latest chapter in a long-running San Francisco tradition. We’re talking about the 142-year-old Golden Gate Park Band, which performs for free in the park every Sunday afternoon from May to October. The orchestra, known as San Francisco’s oldest music organization, recently welcomed a new music director, Dr. Germaine Gonzalez. He will lead the orchestra to hold a concert with a different theme every week.

This week’s concert, titled “Armenian Echoes,” celebrates Armenia’s 106th anniversary of independence. Curated by Lena Manugian, the program includes Gomidas’ Dele Yaman, Alexander Arutiunian’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, several Armenian Traditional dance music and pieces such as excerpts from Aram Khachaturian’s Gayne Ballet. The concert will also feature children and adult dancers from San Francisco’s Araz Dance Company.

detail: May 26, 1 p.m.; Spreckels Temple of Music, also known as the Golden Gate Bandshell; Free; goldengateparkband.org.

— Bay City Press Foundation

Read, write and copy:

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and a brutal presidential campaign, women’s reproductive issues seem as pervasive and politicized today as ever. The hot topic is “Breed or Bust,” a one-dance piece written and performed by Joyful Raven currently playing at The Marsh Berkeley. Raven has been putting on solo shows for about 20 years and has directed dozens of similar shows by other performers. Her Tomboy Story was an Off-Broadway success and won an award at the San Francisco International Fringe Festival.

In Breed or Bust, which organizers describe as a subversive and timely blend of stand-up comedy and storytelling, Raven covers the story as she “considers her own reproductive choices and struggles with her primal reproductive instincts.” a wide range of potential problems.

detail: May 25 and June 8, 8 p.m.; Marsh Berkeley; $20-$100; themarsh.org.

— Bay City Press Foundation



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